Cleveland Indians: The Five Worst Moves by Mark Shapiro

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Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Honorable Mention: Hiring Eric Wedge

I know I said the five worst moves but this is one I felt needed at least a mention.  After a tenuous relationship with manager Charlie Manuel (whom he inherited from John Hart) came to end midway through the 2002 season, Mark Shapiro decided to hire Eric Wedge as manager for the 2003 season.  Wedge was a bit of a surprise pick as many thought that 2002 interim manager Joel Skinner would get the job as it appeared he was the manager in waiting.  However, Wedge was named the Minor League Manager of the Year on multiple occasions while working his way through the Tribe’s system.

At first it didn’t seem like a bad move to hire the inexperienced Wedge. Getting an up and coming manager to work with all the young kids coming up; this was a recipe that worked with Mike Hargrove and the 90s Indians.  Wedge, however, never seemed to be able to get the best, or better yet, maintain the best from his young players. From 2005-2009, the Indians had what always seemed to be one of the most talented young teams in the American League (on paper at least), but for whatever reason they (mostly) failed to live up to expectations.

Wedge was relieved of his managerial duties at the end of the 2009 season.  He finished his Tribe career with a .495 winning percentage.  All things considered it wasn’t a terrible stint as manager for the Indians. His 561 career wins are near the top of the all-time Indians list, and he did come within a game of taking the team to the World Series, something only four managers have done in Cleveland. But expectations were high and Wedge’s teams tended to disappoint moreso than not.

Not all the blame should go to Wedge as he could only compete with the players he had, but one still can’t help but wonder if a different (better?) manager doesn’t win a World Series with the talent Wedge was given. And wanting to keep Ramon Vazquez over Brandon Phillips is still something I’ll personally never forget… 

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